A Puzzle by Sloop
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Sloop is our latest new setter. As usual, the setter will be delighted to receive feedback from you, the solvers. I do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.
Welcome to Sloop. There was a lot of potential in the cluing for this crossword but also a few areas where greater attention to detail would have greatly improved the cluing. In particular, parts of speech should match in the definition in the wordplay. There were too many instances where this was not observed. Despite this, there was a lot of inventiveness in evidence. Perhaps some of the cryptic definition clues were too obvious and could have been better hidden. With only 12 across clues and 20 down clues, the puzzle would look unbalanced in print. The commentometer reads as 7/31 or 22.6%.
1 Do Dales cows form weird feeling of doom (5,2,8)
SWORD OF DAMOCLES – An anagram (weird) of DO DALES COWS FORM. I don’t think that definition is accurate. The solution is not a feeling of doom but a portent of doom.
9 24 hour bunk used only occasionally (3,3)
DAY BED – A just about mildly cryptic definition of an item of furniture used for resting during the hours of daylight.
10 Fliers that were Icarus’s downfall (8)
WAXWINGS – Nice definition and cryptic definition of Icarus’s flying items that melted when he flew too close to the sun.
11 Piano vendor has no hesitation to tactfully push his wares (4,4)
SOFT SELL – A four letter word for piano musically followed by a six letter word for vendor with a two letter word for a hesitation removed (has no hesitation).
14 Just say no – but opiates do provide blissful state (6)
UTOPIA – The answer is hidden (provide) in the third to fifth words of the clue. Technically, the words “Just say” are padding, they may be justified from the anti-drugs campaign in the mid-1980s.
17 Brilliant part particularly pleasing to the eye (6,7)
GOLDEN SECTION – A six letter word meaning brilliant followed by a seven letter meaning part. As the solution is a noun, the definition would be better clued as “something particularly pleasing…” otherwise the definition suggests and adjective as the solution.
20 Twenty four seven (5,3,5)
ROUND THE CLOCK – Another just about mildly cryptic definition of a continual period.
23 Unaffirmative Shakespearean moneylender gives something of inferior American quality (6)
SHLOCK – Remove the Y (un-affirmative) from the moneylender in the Merchant of Venice. Odd though it seems, Y for Yes is not recognised as an abbreviation in Chambers or Collins.
25 Iconic nomenclature given to log on (8)
USERNAME – A mildly cryptic definition of something you need to use to log-on at a computer terminal.
28 Standards organisation gets boost to balanced hydration (8)
ISOTONIC – The abbreviation for the International Organisation for Standardisation followed by a five letter word meaning boost. Again the definition is not quite correct. Giving balanced hydration would give the correct adjectival meaning.
29 Drinks electric soda with a thousand volts (6)
VODKAS – An anagram (electric) of SODA K (thousand) V (volts). I would omit the A and, perhaps, have soda with kilo-volts instead. The problem with the A is that it looks as if it is part of the anagram letters.
30 Pressing a flower that opens late (7,8)
EVENING PRIMROSE – A seven letter word meaning pressing followed by an eight letter word for a flower. The definition only works if the word flower is used both part of the wordplay and part of the definition. Overlaps such as this should not be used.
2 An arm now raised around each softly (6)
WEAPON – Reverse (raised) the NOW from the clue around the abbreviation for each and softly.
3 Overthrow again on the contrary (5)
REBUT – A two letter word meaning again followed by a three letter word meaning on the contrary. I am not convinced that the first two letter (meaning on or concerning) also means again.
4 Of an age, for example Richard Ingrams (5)
OLDIE – Cryptic definition by reference to the magazine founded by Richard Ingrams. I toyed with a three letter word meaning of an age followed by the abbreviation for that is (being confused with for example) giving a definition the magazine edited by Richard Ingrams but this had so many errors in the cluing that I discarded the idea as improbable.
5 Derek Trotter has pain inside part of joint (5)
DOWEL – The three letter name for Derek Trotter includes a two letter word meaning pain. The two letter word is not the pain but the expression uttered when feeling pain.
6 See 16
7 Capital song sung in company (5)
CAIRO – A three letter word for a song that may be sung inside the abbreviation for company.
8 American in the clarts for a long time (9)
SUSTAINED – A two letter abbreviation for American inside a word for clarts. Whilst clart means mud or dirt, you would need clarty to give the adjective required in the definition.
12 Those days when Caesar was green (5)
SALAD – Caesar is a definition by example of a type of food that also is used as part of a compound noun indicating the days of youth.
13 Vampire sheltering by the church (5)
LEECH – A three letter word for the sheltered side followed by the abbreviation for church. As the three letter word is s noun or adjective, it should not be clued as a verb – sheltering. Also, as this is a down clue, by does not work as a charade indicator. Perhaps “Vampire’s shelter above church.
15 Minor adjustments to one’s appearance give power to perform on ice (5)
PRINK – The abbreviation for power over four letter word meaning to perform on ice. As the solution is a verb, the definition would be better as “Make minor adjustments…”.
16/6 Andy and Fergie rent a miscellany of boiled sweets (9,7)
YORKSHIRE MIXTURE – The title of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson followed by a four letter word meaning rent and a seven letter word for a miscellany. I think that this needs some indication that the solution is a trade name or make of boiled sweets.
17 Gloucestershire sent postal about regret for the thin porridge (5)
GRUEL – The two letter postcode for Gloucestershire around a three letter word meaning regret.
18 Thumps hose (5)
SOCKS – Double definition, the second being an item of footwear.
19 Monty’s parrot joined the invisible singers (5)
CHOIR – Another mildly cryptic definition from tMonty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch. “’E’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ ????? invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!
21 Hired appropriate after the French refused (5,2)
TAKEN ON – A four letter word meaning steal or appropriate followed by the French for no.
22 Marks caused when severe acute respiratory syndrome got one down (6)
SMEARS – The abbreviation for severe acute respiratory syndrome around (got) the abbreviation for one (as the setter) in a downward direction. Got is in the wrong tense. Perhaps severe acute respiratory syndrome overwhelms yours truly.
24 Pertaining to digits, or more frequently than usual (5)
OFTEN – Split 2,3 the solution could mean pertaining to the decimal system or the number of fingers or toes.
25 Chapeau – I doff my hat in admiration at Egan (5)
UNCAP – Fortunately the setter has explained this in the comments. As a clue it relies too heavily on a single incident in a cycling race to be to specialist as to be unfair to the majority of solvers.
26 The author’s final words written in the spoken voice (5)
ENVOI — The answer is hidden in (written in the) in the final two words of the clue.
27 The lowest point of this list of clues (5)
NADIR – Single straight definition exemplified by this position of this clue in the list.